A New Jersey-based senior living operator is being accused of retaliation and fostering a hostile work environment by a former executive who claims she was fired after complaining about sexual harassment by a supervisor. The company says that the complaints are unfounded.
Christina Caronna filed a lawsuit last week in Monmouth County Superior Court against CareOne, Chief Legal Counsel Ricardo Solano Jr. and Vice President of Special Operations Emily Vazquez, according to Law360.
She alleges the company and executives violated state discrimination laws by subjecting her to repeated, severe and pervasive gender-based discrimination, as well as harassment and retaliation.
“CareOne does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” a company spokeswoman told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We will be directly addressing the baseless allegations of this lawsuit in court.”
Caronna said that Vazquez made remarks about her body that made her uncomfortable and that he “crossed a line” in October 2022 while they attended a healthcare conference in Atlantic City, NJ. There, she said, he tried to get into bed with her while he was drunk and half naked.
Caronna said that after she confronted Vazquez about the incident, she was left out of decision-making at the company and was ordered to assume the duties of a facility administrator who had resigned instead of being able to hire a replacement. When she expressed her concerns about Vazquez to Solano, he suggested that she take a severance payout and later fired her, according to the lawsuit.
Caronna is seeking back and front pay and benefits, compensatory, damages, reinstatement, attorney fees, corrective action and training about workplace harassment for the defendants.
CareOne provides assisted living, memory care, independent living, skilled nursing and post-acute care and rehabilitation, as well as home health, hospice and other specialized care services.